The TV show barn-burner “Empire” has been on an unprecedented run of seven consecutive weeks of increased ratings, something that has never happened in the history of the Nielsen Ratings.
What is also perhaps unprecedented is the public discussion about the original cast members, included who was going to play which role, which is ultimately a testament to the cultural influence and power that “Empire” wields today.
Another signification of “Empire” explosive popularity? Every other day is a story or controversy surrounding the show — from 50 Cents hating on the show as a rip off of his cable show “Power,” to Taraji P. Henson’s slick retort, to Mo’Nique’s claim that she was offered the role of Cookie first, to Lee Daniel saying she was “blackballed,” to Daniel’s co-creator saying that Mo’Nique was never going to get that role.
And now, word has circulated that the original casting ideas of the show looks nothing like it does today.
Who was going to play the role of Lucious, now occupied by Terrence Howard, as well as his son.
The original cast may have looked like this above, according to the rumors that are flying about cyberspace, with Wesley Snipes in the role of “Lucious,” Mo’Nique as Cookie and Lance Gross playing his eldest son. Also Romeo was being considered for the role of Hakeem and Corbin Bleu in the role of Jamal.
Andre Fuller, the star of Aaron McGruger’s “Black Jesus” as well as “RoomieOverFriends” took to Instagram to discuss what the original cast may have looked like because he was in the running as well. Take a look:
This was also said of the alleged original casting:
“Quite a few of my friends keep saying that I should try to get on Fox’s #1 hit show, “Empire,” well the truth of the matter, at one point I was actually about a week away from playing his oldest son, Andre. I had already auditioned a few times and even met Lee Daniels and the executive producers of the show. But then the craziest thing happened, 1) Aaron McGruder offered my role on BLACK JESUS first, and Empire was about a week away from making their decision … and of course you NEVER pass up your “Fa sho money, tryna get some mo money,” so I took the Black Jesus role. No regrets. And 2) They changed who was supposed to play “Lucious,” which also ultimately changed the “casting look’ of his kids. Who was originally offered the role of Lucious?? Yep, Wesley Snipes.
P.S: No shade, I think the casting ended up being perfect with Terrence Howard as the father. The 3 sons actually look like they could be his sons for real. And they all do a great acting job as well. #Kudos #LoveTheShow.
Well, what do you think of Andre Fuller’s revelation? Urbanites over 30 years of age are very familiar with how Snipes dominated the 90s, and in particular know how successful he was playing a shady character with a murderous past (New Jack City, Blade).
But now that “Empire” is the runaway blockbuster series of the year, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing those characters.